Why is there no public question answering interface to Watson?


Why is there no public question answering interface to Watson?

Technically, the original Jeopardy Watson was not a “question answering system”, but rather a question generating system, since Jeopardy clues are provided in the form of “answers”.  The original Jeopardy Watson had tremendously expensive hardware behind it, which is maybe one reason IBM has not provided it as a public toy.  Also, there is a well known dumbing down effect in AI released “in the wild”, in other words learning AI tends to sink to the lowest common denominator when exposed to the general public.  (Cleverbot may be an example of this.)

IBM does offer “IBM Watson” APIs in conjunction with its Bluemix platform.  However, this appears like a marketing “scam”, in that those APIs bear precious little resemblance to the original Jeopardy Watson.  There was an intermediate “ecosystem” for highend, corporate customers involving tailored customizations and custom functionalities; however, it now seems they are trying to scale that back and merge it into the public API platform.  Currently, their “Question Answer” API only provides two canned datasets, pretrained on healthcare and travel data, without any way to create your own, from their much touted Twitter data, or otherwise.

Here is a list of the “Watson Developer Cloud” APIs:

 

  1. In May 2014, IBM Watson Group bought erstwhile chatbot companyMyCyberTwin.com (renamed Cognea.com).
  2. In March 2015, IBM Watson Group bought NLP API provider AlchemyAPI.com.
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